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Lion Links: 7/1/18



Happy July, Mane Landers. The heat is sweltering, the rain is random, and the humidity is borderline oppressive…but we do live in Florida, so this is to be expected. I trust that you’ve all been having a great weekend, maybe some of you are in preparation for your Fourth of July plans?

It should be a nice and relaxing break on my end, so I hope you all enjoy your plans, family, and friends in this time of patriotic celebration. It would have been much cooler to be celebrating this weekend with a Round of 16 fixture featuring the USMNT, but alas, we don’t have that. Regardless, it’s been a fantastic treat to have the World Cup back in our lives. Not only that, but there’s been obviously club-altering decisions announced with the appointment of the new head coach, James O’Connor. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the club, and I hope the supporters are patient and show their full support. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, here’s your Sunday serving of Lion Links, Mane Landers. Enjoy.

Lions Drop Eighth Straight MLS Match

In what was interim head coach Bobby Murphy’s last match in charge, the Lions started on the back foot but were solidly in the game at halftime before getting blown out, 4-0, at Atlanta United. The game was pretty much summed up with Will Johnson missing a wide-open empty net from just a few yards out. The team has been shut out in three straight MLS matches, getting outscored 9-0 in those games.

  • Scott Crumbly has your match recap.
  • Ben Miller dished out player grades and Man of the Match.

Also keep an eye out for our very own bearded guy’s Five Takeaways this afternoon.

Pride Drop 3-0 Home Match vs. North Carolina Courage

The Pride did their best imitation of the Lions, turning the ball over three times in a four-minute span and watching all of them turn into North Carolina Courage goals in a 3-0 home loss. The Courage were the better side, but Orlando also couldn’t finish, rattling the woodwork twice — once via Marta and once through Alex Morgan. Scott Carnevale has your match recap and highlights.

Jason Kreis Says Goodbye to Orlando City

After taking some time to decompress, former OCSC gaffer Jason Kreis posted his goodbye to Orlando City on Twitter yesterday.

The things that stick out are his obvious regrets about not getting to see this season through as he was let go just as guys were returning from injury and prior to Yoshimar Yotún’s return, as well as his class in thanking literally everyone involved in his time in Orlando.

Orlando City’s New Head Coach to be Missed in Louisville

James O’Connor will be missed tremendously in Louisville, that’s for sure. Speaking briefly at the official groundbreaking ceremony on FC Louisville’s new stadium, O’Connor emphasized his gratitude for the opportunity granted to him by the city, even going as far as to state that he wanted his gratitude “on record.” His message was well received, and his legacy of bringing silverware to the city will never be forgotten. Now he’s on to bigger and better things, and the supporters would be wise to throw their full support behind him as he makes his transition into the nuances of coaching an MLS club.

O’Connor’s old club built a 2-0 lead but fell behind New York Red Bulls II last night, before dramatically pulling back a late equalizer in his final match in Louisville. The game ended in a 3-3 draw.

World Cup 2018: The Round of 16 Begins

Well folks, the Round of 16 is here. It started with fireworks, too, as France came back from a second half deficit to win a thriller against Lionel Messi’s Argentina side, 4-3. Kylian Mbappe was truly the star of the show though, as his brace was crucial in his country’s triumph. France (which I picked to win it all in our bearded guy’s World Cup piece) advances to the quarterfinals now, and will play Uruguay; which was carried by Edison Cavani’s brace to a 2-1 win over Portugal. Cavani may have picked up a knock in this one though, so that’s something to keep an eye on in the quarterfinal.

Today’s fixtures include Spain (which I have winning the tournament in my office bracket pool) playing Russia, and Croatia (my secret dark horse) playing Denmark. Ah, what a time to be alive. This tournament still feels wide open, and I love it.

Free Kicks

  • Think you’ve got what it takes to play professional soccer? See below.

  • Christine Nairn…I love you so much. Just keep being you, please. You’re a role model in so many ways.

  • France star Mbappe is donating his World Cup earnings to a charity, Preiers de Cordees, a charity that aims to organize sporting activities for children with disabilities. Kudos and cheers, Kylian, especially after yesterday’s breakout performance!
  • FC Cincinnati has formally announced a timeline for the construction of their new stadium in Cincinnati’s West End. The name of the stadium and its official capacity has yet to be revealed, but a range of 21,000-30,000 seats was unveiled. FC Cincinnati will begin its MLS journey in 2019, but the stadium isn’t expected to host matches until 2021.
  • FIFA is planning on reviewing the current rule that decides a tie in a World Cup group stage — much like the one that occurred in Group H between Senegal and Japan — which saw Japan advance because of fewer bookings over the course of their matches. FIFA has already indicated that the measure is unlikely to change.
  • Brazil will be without Douglas Costa and possibly Marcelo (my favorite player still playing) for the clash against Mexico in the Round of 16.
  • After Argentina’s Round of 16 exit at the hands of France, 4-3, Javier Mascherano has urged global superstar Lionel Messi to remain with the national team and not make any rash decisions about international retirement. Messi has yet to win a major tournament with Argentina. Mascherano, however, has retired from international duty, along with Lucas Biglia.
  • Russian and Mexico are the latest countries to be he hit with fines due to their supporters. For Russia, the country was fined $10,100 for the display of a discriminatory banner by the team’s fan base. For Mexico, it was a $15,149 fine for crowd disturbance during their 3-0 loss to Sweden.
  • I’ll end with this excellent Sydney Leroux reaction to a recent booking.

Only beggin’ that I do is me beggin’ your pardon.

A post shared by Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) on

Well, that’s all that I’ve got for you today, Mane Landers. Remember to check back in periodically for news and updates regarding all things Orlando City and Orlando Pride. See you next time, folks, and have an excellent week; and enjoy this beautiful World Cup!

Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/28/23

Ajax is reportedly scouting Facundo Torres, Orlando Pride focus on upcoming matches, Houston Dynamo win U.S. Open Cup, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

How’s it going, Mane Landers? I hope this work week has gone smoothly for you as we get ready to bid farewell to September. It’s been a hectic week for me, but I started and then promptly devoured all of Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. It was a nice read, albeit a bit intense at times. I’m not sure what I’ll read next as most of my reading list is packed up for a move, but if you have any recommendations then let me know in the comments below. Let’s dive into today’s links!

Ajax Reportedly Interested in Facundo Torres

Orlando City forward Facundo Torres has reportedly garnered the interest of Dutch club Ajax according to Fabrizio Romano.

It’s not too surprising that Ajax, which currently sits in 14th in the Eredivisie with just seven goals from five games, has scouts keeping tabs on Torres. The 23-year-old has scored 12 goals this season, powering Orlando to second in the Eastern Conference. It wouldn’t be the first time Torres has received attention from European clubs and likely won’t be the last as he continues to impress with the Lions

Orlando Pride Focus During Playoff Push

The Orlando Pride are back in action on Monday for a crucial road match with Angel City FC. Both teams have 25 points this season, one point from the sixth and final playoff spot currently held by the Washington Spirit. It will be the first of three remaining games for the Pride this season, with matches against fellow playoff hopefuls Racing Louisville and the Houston Dash set for later in October. As a result, there’s not much margin for error if the Pride wish to make the playoffs and Kylie Strom talked about how the team is focused for these games.

MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs Begin This Weekend

The first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs kicks off this weekend with six matches that can all be watched on MLS Season Pass. Unlike last year, Orlando City B will be taking part and is set to face off with Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Although the Young Lions have struggled on the road against Columbus, Jack Lynn and Shak Mohammed can make things difficult for the hosts. Hopefully we’ll see OCB make Columbus regret its choice of opponent in the postseason. I like the wrinkle and mind games to the playoffs the new rule gave and am interested to see which of the lower seeds plays with a chip on their shoulder. The playoffs begin on Friday when Sporting Kansas City II hosts Austin FC II in a battle between the third and fourth seeds of the Western Conference.

Houston Dynamo Win U.S. Open Cup

The Houston Dynamo have lifted the U.S. Open Cup trophy after winning 2-1 on the road against Inter Miami. A pair of goals in the first half were enough for Houston to win its second U.S. Open Cup title after also winning in 2018. A goal in stoppage time from Josef Martinez made things interesting, but the Dynamo defense did well to secure the win and deny Miami its second tournament title this year. It was a strong end to a solid tournament campaign from the Dynamo, as they beat four MLS sides before taking down Miami in the final.

Albertin Montoya Hired as Bay FC Head Coach

Ahead of its inaugural NWSL season next year, Bay FC named Albertin Montoya as the club’s first head coach. Montoya, who has lived in California for most of his life, served as the interim coach for the Washington Spirit in 2022 and also coached the U.S. U-17 women’s national team in 2011. Bay FC General Manager Lucy Rushton spoke on how Montoya’s name came up often while the club searched for a head coach, as well as how his skill at developing players will help build the club’s foundation.

Free Kicks

  • Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja called for the supporters to continue filling Exploria Stadium and pushing the Lions forward for the team’s remaining home games this season.
  • St. Louis City midfielder Njabulo Blom won MLS Goal of the Week for his winner against Minnesota United. It was also the 23-year-old’s first professional goal.

That’s all I have for you today. Have a wonderful Thursday and rest of your week!

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/27/23

Orlando City falls in power rankings, OCB will take on Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro playoffs, U.S. Open Cup final preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Hello, Mane Landers. I hope all is well with you down in Florida. There’s not much new with me, I’m just staying busy at work lately and hoping to catch some soccer this weekend. There is plenty to cover today, so let’s get to the links.

Orlando City Drops Two Spots in Power Rankings

The latest MLS power rankings have been released and Orlando City fell two spots to fourth. The Lions lost their midweek matchup 2-0 on the road against New York City FC last Wednesday and closed out the weekend with a 1-1 draw against rival Inter Miami at Exploria Stadium. It wasn’t all bad this past week for the Lions, as Duncan McGuire scored his 11th goal of the year across all competitions. Despite losing to NYCFC a week ago, the Lions remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and are two points ahead of the Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, Atlanta United, and the New England Revolution.

OCB Will Take On Columbus Crew 2 in MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs

Orlando City B’s opponent for the first round of the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs was announced on Tuesday, as it will go on the road to take on defending champion Columbus Crew 2 on Oct. 1 at Historic Crew Stadium. As part of the new playoff format that lets higher seeds choose their opponents, Columbus chose to host OCB in the quarterfinals. The Young Lions closed out their regular season this past weekend with a 2-1 win against FC Cincinnati and finished fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Columbus Crew 2 finished its regular season with a 3-2 win against Atlanta United 2 to place third. The clubs split the regular season series, with OCB winning 4-1 on Aug. 27 and Columbus winning 4-0 on May 14. The conference semifinals will be on the following weekend, and the MLS NEXT Pro Cup final is set for Oct. 22.

U.S. Open Cup Final Preview

The 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will conclude tonight with the final at DRV PNK Stadium as Inter Miami takes on the Houston Dynamo. The match will kick off at 8:30 p.m. and you can watch the match on Paramount+ or CBS Sports Network. Inter Miami’s journey included edging out Nashville SC 2-1 in the Round of 16 and needing to go all the way to penalties to knock out FC Cincinnati after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the semifinals. The Houston Dynamo began their run with a pair of 1-0 wins against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Sporting Kansas City. Since the Round of 16, the Dynamo cruised past Minnesota United, the Chicago Fire, and Real Salt Lake to get to the final. Houston was on a seven-match unbeaten run before losing to Sporting Kansas City this past weekend. The Dynamo will look to add another U.S. Open Cup title after winning it back in 2018. Lionel Messi will reportedly be a game-time decision for tonight’s final after he didn’t play in Miami’s draw with Orlando.

Spain Wins First Home Match Since World Cup Victory

Spain’s women’s national team won its first match since lifting the World Cup trophy last month, cruising to a 5-0 win against Switzerland in a UEFA Nations League matchup. After dealing with the fallout of former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales and players boycotting call-ups to the national team before a deal was reached last week, the team wore wristbands that read “Se Acabo,” meaning “this is over,” and players from both teams held a banner with the same phrase before the match. Spain celebrated its win in front of a record-breaking crowd of 14,194 fans that came out to support the team at Nuevo Arcangel Stadium.

Free Kicks

  • Carrie Lawrence and the Orlando Pride were hard at work preparing for the match on Monday against Angel City FC.
  • Angel City exercised its club option to extend former Pride forward Sydney Leroux’s contract through the end of the 2024 NWSL season.
  • The Canadian Women’s National Team defeated Jamaica 4-1 on aggregate to book a spot in next summer’s Olympics.
  • The Seattle Sounders have unveiled their new crest for next year.

That will do it for me today, Mane Landers. Enjoy your Wednesday and I’ll see you next time.

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Lion Links

Lion Links: 9/26/23

Pedro Gallese honored, Orlando Pride and Lions celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Campeones Cup preview, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I won’t lie to you, I’m dragging a bit to start this week. I’m still recovering from being sick and frankly had to fight the urge to take Monday off. I’m soldiering on though, and there’s plenty of soccer happening this week to help keep me entertained and in good spirits. Let’s have a look at today’s links.

Pedro Gallese Recognized

Pedro Gallese turned in another superb performance during Orlando City’s 1-1 draw with Inter Miami on Sunday, and he’s been rewarded with a place in the most recent edition of the MLS Team of the Matchday. El Pulpo made four saves on the night, including a fantastic stop on a header from close range, and helped the Lions stay in the game until they could find the equalizer. Congratulations to Pedro, and here’s hoping he keeps up the good work!

Orlando Pride and Orlando City Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Orlando Pride defender Celia fielded questions for fans to learn more about both her and Spain. Celia is from Alicante, a port city in southern Spain, and shared her favorite food, music, and activity while in her home country. She also spoke on a common misconception about spices used in Spain being spicy.

Orlando City’s Facundo Torres also shared the meaning behind some of his tattoos, which include the Uruguayan flag and La Paz, the city he grew up in. Orlando City’s match with CF Montreal on Saturday will also be Hispanic Heritage Night at Exploria Stadium.

Campeones Cup Preview

You can be forgiven if you forgot that the Campeones Cup is still a thing, because I know I did. Here’s a little refresher on the annual match. It’s being played tomorrow night at BMO Stadium between LAFC and Tigres, the reigning MLS and Liga MX champions, respectively. The MLS representative has won three out of the four contests, with Tigres beating Toronto FC 3-1 in the first iteration of the competition in 2018. This match will also be a rematch of the 2020 Concacaf Champions League final, which saw Tigres emerge victorious 2-1 at Exploria Stadium.

Americans in Midweek Action

A number of Americans will be taking part in games for their clubs this week. Tim Weah and Weston McKennie’s Juventus will take on Lecce today in Serie A, while Chris Richards and Crystal Palace face Manchester United in the Carabao Cup. Christian Pulisic and Yunus Musah have a league match when AC Milan plays Cagliari tomorrow. PSV Eindhoven has a game against Go Ahead Eagles tomorrow as well, which means Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest and Malik Tillman could all be involved. Friday closes out the week with Hoffenheim taking on Borussia Dortmund, which could see John Brooks matched up against Gio Reyna depending on Reyna’s fitness.

Spanish Players Will Testify Against Rubiales

Alexia Putellas, Irene Paredes, and Misa Rodriguez have all been called to testify as witnesses in the case against Luis Rubiales. Jenni Hermoso’s brother and a friend of the player both testified on Monday afternoon, as Rubiales is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales has already testified and maintains he did nothing wrong amid uproar that has led to a number of Spanish players refusing to return to the team until changes are made, and a general overshadowing of Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup. Putellas, Paredes, and Rodriguez will testify next Monday.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for today. Y’all stay safe out there!

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